Coarse grain stocks set to surge in 2024/25, reaching 7-year high

28 June 20243 min reading

FAO’s first forecast for world stocks of coarse grains at the close of the seasons in 2025 stands at 385 million tonnes, pointing to a likely 3.4 percent increase above their opening levels and representing the highest level since 2017/18. Consequently, the world stocks-to-use ratio of coarse grains is set to rise slightly from 24.4 percent in 2023/24 to 24.8 percent in 2024/25, reaching its highest level since 2018/19. 

The ratio of major exporters’ closing stocks to their total disappearance – defined as domestic utilization plus exports and considered a better indicator of global availabilities from a trade perspective – is set to increase from 13.0 percent in 2023/24 to 14.4 percent in 2024/25, which would be the highest level since 2017/18.

Accounting for the bulk of the anticipated increase in coarse grain stocks, global maize stocks are forecast to rise by 3.5 percent above their opening levels, reaching 325 million tonnes. The largest buildup is predicted in the European Union (up 37.0 percent above opening levels) and is supported by expectations of higher production and a third consecutive season of large imports. In China, high opening stocks, larger domestic production and an elevated level of imports for a fifth consecutive season are predicted to boost maize inventories by 2.1 percent above their opening levels. Maize inventories are also seen increasing in the United States (up 4.0 percent above their opening levels and reaching their highest level since 2018/19), and in Brazil (up 12.5 percent) thanks to a third consecutive bumper harvest. 

Among other major coarse grains, both global barley and sorghum inventories are forecast to increase by 3.5 percent above their opening levels to 30.4 million tonnes and 7.4 million tonnes, respectively. Most of the predicted increase in global barley inventories is in the European Union, while higher sorghum inventories are mostly seen in Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. 


Pegged at 230 million tonnes, FAO’s first forecast for world trade in coarse grains in 2024/25 (July/June) points to a 2.4 percent decrease from the 2023/24 level. The decrease stems from anticipated declines in trade of maize and barley, while sorghum trade is seen rising. Leading the decline, global maize trade in 2024/25 (July/ June) is forecast to drop by 2.7 percent from 2023/24, reaching 184 million tonnes. This would mark the first contraction in global maize trade since 2021/22. The main driver behind the decline is weaker import demand from Asia (down 7.0 percent), the world’s top importing region, bringing the regional import forecast to 94 million tonnes.

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